Kiln man's dreams of a legal distillery coming to reality - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Kiln man's dreams of a legal distillery coming to reality

For now, Crittenden says his next step to making his dream come true is to get approval from Mississippi's Alcohol Beverage Control. (Photo source: WLOX) For now, Crittenden says his next step to making his dream come true is to get approval from Mississippi's Alcohol Beverage Control. (Photo source: WLOX)
HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Hancock County is about to get another feather in its hat for economic development and tourism. The announcement of Matt Crittenden working to create Hancock County's first distillery came as a surprise, but not to many who know him from the Rotary Club of Bay St. Louis.

"Matt's an insightful kind of guy, and with that, he's probably done his homework, probably knows what's going on. His timing is probably impeccable, knowing him, and I think he's going to have a successful business," Bay St. Louis resident David Mayley said.

Crittenden said he was in law school when his interest in the distillery sparked.

"I kind of read about it, and I saw that there was a craft distillery movement going on. We've seen the wines and the breweries, and now the distilleries are coming along, and I said, 'Man, that seems exciting,'" Crittenden said.

After getting his law degree and spending nearly five years researching distilleries, Matt began planning how to open his own business where he grew up.

"I remember as a child you'd see where old still sites had been blown up by the revenuers or you'd run across still sites in the woods that had been long abandoned," Crittenden said.

After approaching both the Hancock County Planning and Zoning Commission and the Hancock County Board of Supervisors, they compared the idea to a brewery. Along with others, city officials showed their support for his endeavors.

"There's going to be tours going on, and that's going to spawn off to where people will go down to Bay St. Louis and Waveland because they want to go see what's here," Mayley said.

For now, Crittenden says his next step to making his dream come true is to get approval from Mississippi's Alcohol Beverage Control.

"Dream big, so to speak, and maybe shoot for the stars, and if you land on the moon, you're still happy about it," Crittenden said smiling.

He hopes the state will approve his operating license before the end of the year, and if that happens, he'll open the distillery.

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